Scandal Town

— That burgeoning scandal in the office of District Attorney Paul Pfingst is threatening to suck in some big names from the San Diego establishment, among them attorney and University of California regent John Davies. According to documents filed in the matter, Davies had been doing business deals with prosecutor Peter J. Longanbach, who was a former associate with Davies in downtown's now-defunct Hahn, Cazier law firm. Longanbach, chief of the D.A.'s economic fraud unit, retired from the county earlier this month after raids on his county office, lavish Rancho Santa Fe home, and brand new Porsche were conducted by investigators for the state Attorney General. The A.G. was called into the case after it was alleged that Longanbach had used county secretaries to do work on his personal real estate deals -- including forging rental papers -- and failed to fully report his economic holdings, as required by state law. Longanbach has denied the charges. Son of the late Chula Vista attorney and Old Globe philanthropist Lowell Davies, John Davies is one of ex-governor Pete Wilson's oldest and best friends and was intimately involved in Wilson's judicial nomination selections, both during Wilson's governorship as well as his eight years as a U.S. Senator. Davies set up and ran Wilson's "blind trust," in which the personal assets of the then-governor and his wife Gayle were held. Davies, who chaired the San Diego planning commission under Wilson, is also a close adviser to county supervisor Ron Roberts, who came out on top in this month's San Diego mayoral primary. According to a declaration filed by attorney Gerald Blank, who represents David Genzler, a defendant in a murder case allegedly tainted by Longanbach's prosecutorial misconduct, Davies "engaged in numerous business transactions" with Longanbach. The document quotes Davies as saying, "I would hate to have to tell you what I know and believe about Mr. Longanbach."

Radio Roundabout

Who is behind Chase Radio Partners, that mysterious buyer of AM radio station KSDO, announced last week by Clear Channel Communications? According to a Clear Channel press release issued March 6 and filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, the company is unloading KSDO, along with KPLN and KYXY (which are being sold to Infinity Broadcasting) and 70 other radio stations in 26 other markets in connection with Clear Channel's pending merger with AMFM, Inc., another giant broadcasting chain. In addition to KSDO, Chase is set to purchase 10 other stations from Clear Channel, providing the Clear Channel/AMFM merger comes off. Clear Channel didn't return phone calls, but a bit of quick research revealed that Chase Radio is headed by Tony Chase, an African-American business executive based in Houston. Chase also runs an outfit called Chasecom, which sells phone services to minority customers. He has also dabbled in cellular-phone networks; last month another company he heads sold 11 cell licenses in Tennessee to San Diego's Leap Wireless International. Reached last week by phone, Chase, who also teaches law at the University of Houston and is a friend of Jesse Jackson, said he planned no major changes for KSDO, which is currently formatted with "business news."

Hot Money

Hellman & Friedman, that big San Francisco venture-capital outfit run by Warren Hellman, the high-profile father-in-law of UCSD chancellor Robert Dynes, has been making big moves lately. Last week the firm announced it had bought a 37.5 percent stake in Formula One Holdings, which runs the famous European road races. Price of the deal? $712.5 million. Just before that, Hellman & Friedman announced it was buying La Jolla-based Mitchell International, a provider of software and "information services" to insurance companies and auto-repair businesses. Meanwhile, Hellman scotched rumors that he was interested in buying a stake in the San Francisco Examiner, which is to be unloaded (or else closed) by the Hearst Corp. "I just can't be a financial participant," he told a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Hellman, a big political donor to San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, is also partnered with Padres owner John Moores in a South Carolina software manufacturer called Blackbaud.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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